About Bryan Kennedy

Bryan Kennedy’s Democratic Party of Wisconsin involvement spans more than fifteen years. After completing his Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000, Bryan took a faculty position at University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee, where he taught until 2011. Shortly after moving to Wisconsin, he joined the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW). (He had been a member of the Democratic Party in other states since 1990.)

At his core, Bryan is a grassroots organizer. When he was in graduate school, he was part of an organizing effort of graduate assistants at the University of North Carolina. After joining the UWM faculty, he helped sign dozens of new members to his local union.

From 2007-2013, Bryan served as state president of American Federation of Teachers — Wisconsin. He turned the union into an organizing union by hiring five organizers and opening an Organizing Department. Under his leadership, AFT—Wisconsin experienced the largest expansion of new locals in their recent history —  eight successful collective bargaining elections on seven UW campuses in less than a year.

During the Wisconsin Uprising of 2011, Bryan helped occupy the State Capitol and did many national press interviews. After the passage of Act 10, Bryan was asked to address labor crowds around the country about the power of resistance in defense of working families.

Bryan has demonstrated his dedication and commitment to Democratic Party principles by serving in the party and by holding elected office.  Bryan took on the challenge of opposing Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner in 2004 and 2006. He garnered 37% of the vote in 2006 and registered the largest vote total of any Sensenbrenner opponent, with 135,000 votes. He went on to serve three terms on the Glendale-River Hills School Board. In 2015, he was elected Mayor of Glendale, a part-time, policy-making post.  Bryan served six years on the DPW Administrative Committee and two years on the DPW Executive Committee.

When he stepped down from union leadership, Bryan Kennedy served as Director of a Milwaukee-area nonprofit for a year. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, he and his wife could both be self-employed and still get affordable medical coverage. Bryan left the nonprofit and started a private consulting business, using his Ph.D to do organizational development work with American businesses that have interests in Brazil. Bryan is currently putting his consulting business on hold to campaign full-time for DPW Chair.  If elected, he will work full-time to build the party and prepare Democrats for wins in the 2018 election cycle.

Bryan is married and has three children in public schools. His wife Heather is a psychotherapist in private practice.